Potential roles of chemical degradation in the biological activities of curcumin
Substantial pre-clinical and human studies have shown that curcumin, a dietary compound from turmeric, has a variety of health-promoting biological activities. A better understanding of the biochemical mechanisms for the health-promoting effects of curcumin could facilitate the development of effective strategies for disease prevention. Recent studies have shown that in aqueous buffer, curcumin rapidly degrades and leads to formation of various degradation products. In this review, we summarized and discussed the biological activities of chemical degradation products of curcumin, including alkaline hydrolysis products (such as ferulic acid, vanillin, ferulaldehyde, and feruloyl methane), and autoxidation products (such as bicyclopentadione). Though many of these degradation products are biologically active, they are substantially less-active compared to curcumin, supporting that chemical degradation has a limited contribution to the biological activities of curcumin.